I thought I was, but as it turns out, no. No, I am not.

Confession time: I have been digging in the yard and my hands hurt.

I’m still battling the tendonitis that attacked at the beginning of the year. I know. I shouldn’t be digging if my hands hurt. However….

We have decks which must be replaced at every entryway to the house. While we’ve been using them without any issue, they are a bit, well, rotten. The spongy boards eject nails, push themselves away from each other, and generally aren’t even worth the paint that they need to hold together for the summer season.

So, we’re building two decks this spring to replace the small ones at each entryway: one that wraps around from the southern entry to the western back door and one for the eastern entryway. When this happens, three shrubs have to find new homes or be killed by the deck.

Columnar Boxwood

We have two small columnar boxwoods and one larger spirea to move. Besides jump-starting the landscaping, this move will save us money since we’ll have three fewer shrubs to purchase.

And that’s why my hands ache. Cutting out the sod, digging holes, and digging up three shrubs from the heavy red clay that makes up my yard pushes my entire body. During spring, digging makes up the majority of my gardening anyway.

Holes Dug for Spirea

Even though I can feel my muscles growing, each shovel of dirt pushes my hands. Since they used to be able to take on any burden, their weakness surprises me. Even though I only allow myself one hour of digging at a time, my hands swell by the end of each day. I push my body to hold the weight with my legs, but as I tire, my hands grasp at the burden. In the past, strengthening my core helped me balance the weight and shift it away from my extremities.

Early in my battle with this tendonitis, I discovered that planking helped ease the pain in my hands. I think this is because it strengthened my upper arms and shoulders (and my core) which allowed my hands to relax. Of course, at that time, I decided to just rest my hands instead of planking.

I mean, why do something that works? Silly! I rested my hands and snacked instead. Now the garden is calling….

So, I’ve decided to do one of those thirty day plank challenges. I did a quick Google image search and picked a time challenge to get started.

30 Day Plank Challenge
30 Day Plank Challenge With Inspiration – this one is credited to workoutbox.net, but I wasn’t able to find it on their site.

Want to join me? In my limited experience, planking strengthens all of the muscles that I need right now without putting additional stress on my hands and wrists. Plus, once I finish up my month, hopefully I’ll have built a bit of an exercise practice again and can start incorporating more strength training into my regular workout.

And I’ll be able to dig more holes.

Which is good because, within my gardening plans, I demand that I dig all spring, summer, and fall to get the garden beds in for next year’s growing season.

I’m a pretty harsh taskmaster.

Columnar Boxwood Moved

But doesn’t this look fabulous in its new location?

(I’m also getting some weights and trying out this dude’s hand and wrist strengthening exercises. They seem like a good idea.)

(Also, if anyone does want to join me, go grab a 30 Day Plank Challenge image and let’s do it! One way or the other, I’ll give you regular updates.)


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